The two sisters released from border facilities early to visit their dying parent were released after positive representations from the National MP for Hutt South, Health Minister David Clark has revealed in the House.

He was asked by Labour MP Chris Hipkins whether National's Chris Bishop had written representations for the women, to which Clark replied: "Yes I am aware of that".

On Tuesday it emerged that two sisters who later tested positive for the virus were allowed to leave managed isolation in Auckland in order to travel to Wellington after their mother had died.

National's Chris Bishop had written representations for the women. Photo / File
National's Chris Bishop had written representations for the women. Photo / File

More than 300 close contacts of the pair have been identified and will be tested, including other people in the Auckland hotel in which they had been isolating and other passengers and crew on their flight from Brisbane. The pair had flown from the UK.


Bishop said he was contacted by the women on June 12 and asked for help in having the Ministry of Health urgently assess their application for compassionate consideration to visit their very sick mother.

When he saw the email that Saturday afternoon, he forwarded it to the elected officials email address and the ministerial exemptions address at the Ministry of Health and asked for the case to be looked at as soon as possible.

"Obviously I did this on the basis that testing would occur and the rules would be followed. My job as MP for Hutt South is to assist constituents, which I was doing.

"These women should have been tested after three days. They weren't. They should have been tested before being released. They weren't.

"This is a desperate smear from an incompetent Government keen to hide its own failings at the border."

National's health spokesman Michael Woodhouse - who earlier revealed the women had been in contact with friends who had "kissed and hugged" them while helping them - said advocating for their constituents was "what good MPs should do".

Illustration / Rod Emmerson
Illustration / Rod Emmerson

"It never would have crossed Chris Bishop's mind to ask officials to cut corners, which is what the inference to this scandalous slur is."

He hadn't seen the letter but said Bishop should "not be implicated in officials failing to do their job".


He called Hipkins' question "scandalous" and called it an "absolute outrage" to infer Bishop had asked for corners to be cut.

The women initially said they had not contacted anyone on their road-trip. But yesterday it was revealed they came into contact with at least two friends who helped them after they became lost on the Auckland motorway.

Dr Ashley Bloomfield said this morning it was a "fleeting interaction" and both those friends had been tested and were now in isolation.

He said one of the people who went to help the duo had put their "arm around them" and said that was the only contact they had.

The Ministry of Health, which until yesterday was in charge of managing Covid-19 at the border, has come under fire for the border blunder.

Both Government and Opposition ministers have called for someone to be held accountable.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern yesterday announced that the military would take over and Air Commodore Digby Webb would be placed in command of the managed isolation regime.

Compassionate leave for anyone in quarantine or managed isolation has since been suspended.

New Zealand now has 1157 confirmed cases of Covid-19 - 1507 in total, including probable cases.